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need vise advice

chrisagnew's picture

need vise advice (post #170961)



I am having a heck of a time with this vise.  It is one of those quick release types that when you turn the handle two times you can just pull the vise open.

My problem is that the vise will close but will no longer open when I turn the handle.  Pictures are enclosed showing the mechanism.  The design is simple but to save my life, I cant figure out what is wrong.  I have taken it apart and cleaned it, looked for damage etc but I just don’t have the knowledge to determine what is wrong.

If anyone has had any similar experiences, please share.  The vise is about 5 years old, I have treated it fairly well and hope to get more years out of it as it was not cheap.  I got this from Lee Valley.

Westchester's picture

Vise (post #170961, reply #1 of 7)

Are you sure it's not turning the handle backwards that operates the action ?


roc's picture

well . . . (post #170961, reply #2 of 7)

I have the older and perhaps better designed version. It still works perfectly.  I am not bragging I am saying that once you get a little further down the road you may find, as I did, that there are wilder skies than these.

In other words just let 'er die and make a more useful vise.

I got all starry eyed over the record and carried it home like a dog that found a nice big bone


then I started to use it and found too many problems with the basic work holding abilities for cabinet making.

If you have a bass boat buy a chain and throw'er over the side.  That's my vise advise.


Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe. Abraham Lincoln ( 54° shaves )

RalphBarker's picture

Just for the Record, so to speak (post #170961, reply #5 of 7)

There's (old) Record, (newer) Record, and Chinese copies of the Record design. The latter two tend not to work so well.

The big Jorgensen, however, still seems to be as well made as the old ones, and works well for this type of (general purpose) vise, particularly if wooden jaws are added.

But, I agree that the design has limitations, and for some uses a twin-screw front vise, a traditional tail vise, or a Roubo-style vise may be better choices. It depends on the nature of the work, I think.

roc's picture

Hey, doesn't mean I don't enjoy a good technical problem (post #170961, reply #3 of 7)

I was going to ask if there was any chance that silver colored block could have been put in wrong.  Sounds like from your post that it was fine and you used the vice for years and then one day it locked up.  If on the other hand some one snuck into your shop and took the vise apart and put it back together wrong ( Yard Gnomes do this sort of thing all the time ) and then it started to lock up this thread may help.

I have been searching around for an exploded view of the vise travel mechanism and have not found one.  If you have one maybe you could photograph it and put it up here and I could take a look.

I am a mechanic and metal person first and struggle to do decent wood working when the fit comes over me.

PS: the threaded rod on mine is quite different it is an asymmetrical "buttress thread".


Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe. Abraham Lincoln ( 54° shaves )

RalphBarker's picture

Sorta quick-release (post #170961, reply #4 of 7)

The Lee Valley vise appears to be a copy of the old Record design. The Lee Valley page says:

"The quick release is designed for one-handed operation; the screw is disengaged by two counterclockwise turns of the handle, allowing work to be held with one hand as the vise is quickly adjusted with the other."

In theory, after the two CCW turns of the handle, just pull straight out on the handle.

I'd try doing this on the benchtop, while watching the action. That should show you what is hanging up.

chrisagnew's picture

yeah,  i think its just gonna (post #170961, reply #6 of 7)

yeah,  i think its just gonna be scrap metal soon


guy on sawmill creek had the same problem, no way to repair it

JohnOSeattle's picture

Vise advice (post #170961, reply #7 of 7)

What did Lee Valley have to say? I've had great luck in communicating with them. Offer to send them the pictures.